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Angry Ex and Parental Alienation

angry ex

Are you worried about having the relationship with your children being ruined by an angry ex if you move forward with your plans for divorce?  If so, you would not be the first person to recognize that your spouse could use the children as pawns in an ugly vendetta in the event of a split. An aggressive California divorce attorney, however, can address such concerns. 

What Incites an Angry Ex to Create Divisions? 

When parents try to alienate their kids from the other parent, they often are experiencing some troubling symptoms themselves. Parental alienation syndrome, so named by Dr. Richard Gardner decades ago to describe the efforts of an angry ex to create distance between another parent and their children, occurs when the symptomatic parent is suffering from emotional issues such as: 

  • Narcissism;
  • Self-absorption;
  • Emotional fragility;
  • Anger and resentment toward their ex;
  • Inability to understand how such behavior harms their children;
  • Trouble accepting responsibility for problems in the marriage.

What Does Alienation Look Like? 

Angry ex behaviors to be on the lookout for, of course, vary.  Anything that is designed to put you in a bad light qualifies as a worrisome signal. Common issues might be: 

  • Disparaging comments to kids about their other parent;
  • Limiting communications and contacts;
  • Threatening to withdraw affection if kids do not reject the other parent. 

Kids Benefit From Both Parents 

This desire of the angry ex to harm the other parent is often justified by telling oneself that it is all in the name of protecting the children from a bad influence.  Nonetheless, such efforts to sabotage the relationship are ultimately truly harmful to the children. It only makes sense that being in the middle of such negativity will have serious impacts on kids.  The documented outcomes for children include self-esteem issues, feelings of unworthiness, depression, trust issues, and often, addictions down the road.  These are a result of the child’s sense that they are unloved by one parent, and their inability to sort through the emotions associated with that trauma.   

Your Legal Response 

If you are on the receiving end of an angry ex using tactics designed to separate you from your children, there are a number of things that can be done. While some scenarios may be mitigated with the help of family or counseling, more often the situation requires a bit more. First and foremost, you should keep records of any incidents of concern. When children are truly facing physical or emotional danger, it may be necessary to call law enforcement. They can assist with supervision during exchanges for visitation or with monitoring visits. Whatever your situation, the knowledgeable and resourceful team at Beck Family Law can help. If you live in Mendocino County, Sonoma County, or Lake County, contact our Santa Rosa office for a confidential consultation today.

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